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The Power to Choose…

By: Aaron P. Graft

October 16, 2012

We have our National, State and local elections coming up in a few weeks. It is not unusual to hear around election time how important it is that we exercise our right to vote. We see others living around the world that don’t have this right – some of these peoples are fighting to gain their ability to participate in their governments. It seems to me that since, as Americans, we have had the right to vote for so many years, many in our country take this privilege for granted and others don’t even bother to participate. Interestingly though, today’s “right” to vote resulted from choices made by those that preceded us to risk and invest in order to gain this ability for citizens to participate.

On a much more individual and personal level, I wonder how many of us ignore the daily power we have to make choices in how we risk and invest in our own lives day in and day out. The effects of our choices accumulate over time and span the length and breadth of our lives – there is a cumulative and multiplicative impact. The building of consequences resulting from our choices is a very large part of the forces that shape our lives and also has significant impacts on others in proximity to us (e.g., spouse, children, extended family, neighbors, co-workers, etc.).

I have made some good choices and some poor choices over my life. Seeing the variability of consequences that followed, at various points over my life and spurred on by absorbing reality, I have increased the intensity of coaching I give myself about, “make good choices!” Today, I am 55 years old, I have been married 32 years, and I have four sons ranging from 22 to 30 years of age. From an early age, our sons growing up repeatedly heard in our house the coaching to “make good choices.” When poor choices were made, I explained my role as their father in disciplining them as a consequence of their poor choice. Guess what – while they continued to make “age appropriate mistakes” growing up (and still do today); they have also demonstrated that they learned from their mistakes and matured in their judgment as they grew from boys to men.

I continue to coach myself and others to “make good choices.” One choice that I made five years ago was to begin riding a road bicycle due to some heart arrhythmia challenges, my rising blood pressure, and my doctor’s resulting recommendation to put me on on-going medication. While medication might be fine, I choose for my life to stay off all medications as long as absolutely possible. Making this choice resulted in my needing to make a choice about exercise – road cycling. Beginning this type of exercise regime is not without discomfort and some straight forward pain. But I’m happy with the consequences of the cycling choice, so while I am aware of the discomfort and pain, I choose to not be diluted in my resolve to stay medicine free. I have been riding for five years now.

In our work environment, there is a flood of choices flowing across every aspect of the business. Each Team Member is making choices hourly if not every few minutes. That reality is one reason why I like to team with others that understand and embrace the Power to Choose. Embracing this does not mean we do not make mistakes or otherwise fall short at times. It means that we seek to be valuable to ourselves and those around us by demonstrating how we learn, adapt, and improve from the consequences of our choices. That is the type of culture and environment all of us are contributing to shape at Triumph – if you are already a Team Member, know you are supported in exercising your Power to Choose and learning from the consequences. If you are not a Team Member and this type of culture is exciting to you, consider joining us and exercising your Power to Choose.

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